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In 1939, Kay Jeynes, a lively, ambitious young working-class woman, goes to work for the only Japanese businessman in town, the elderly, wealthy, Oxford-educated Mr. Miyashita. Despite differences in their age, race, and class, a friendship develops between them in the peaceful vacuum of Mr. Miyashita’s office. But outside, on the city streets, a dark chapter in North American history is taking shape. As war looms, relations between Canada and Japan grow steadily worse. Travel outside North America becomes impossible for Mr. Miyashita, so he asks Kay to cross the Pacific Ocean, even as the Imperial Navy is manoeuvring into position for the attack on Pearl Harbor. He sends her to Hong Kong on the famous Pan American Clipper to collect a precious family heirloom. On this journey, Kay commits some seemingly small sins of omission. But in the paranoid climate of the times, these little white lies put Mr. Miyashita at risk of being arrested as a spy.
Told through the eyes of an older Kay, and set during the turbulent and racially charged times of the Second World War, Flying Time is a triumphant story of love and adventure, the impetuosity of youth and the regrets of age.